The Importance of Water Elements in Japanese Landscapes

A water feature is an important part of any Japanese garden. The Japanese water fountain is considered symbolic of spiritual and physical cleansing, so it is typically placed in or near the doorways of temples or homes. Since water is meant to be the focal point of a fountain, you will notice that the designs are kept very simple.

You will also see many fountains that have spouts crafted of bamboo. Underneath the bamboo spout is usually a stone basin which receives the water as it flows down from the spout. 115442_4401_art_1__94101.jpg People typically make them look weathered and worn, even when they are new. It is important that the overall look of the fountain fits in with the natural environment, so people typically place plants, rocks, and flowers around it. As you can probably guess, this fountain is symbolic rather than just decorative.

An alternative is to get a stone fountain, set it on a bed of rock, and place live bamboo and pretty stones around it. Before long moss begins to creep over the stones and cover them, and as that happens the area begins to look more and more like a natural part of the landscape.

If you are lucky enough to have a big plot of open land you can create a water feature that is much more elaborate. Lots of people include a koi pond or a small stream as a final touch.

Japanese fountains, however, do not actually need to have water in them. Attractive rocks, sand, or gravel are ideal alternatives to actual water, as they can be used to symbolize the water. In addition, flat rocks can be laid out close enough together to give the illusion of a babbling brook.

Experience the World’s Tallest Water Features

Located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the King Fahd Fountain (1985) is the highest continually-functioning fountain worldwide. The water reaches the astonishing height of 260 meters (853 feet) over the Red Sea.

The Han-Gang River in Seoul, Korea (2002), comes in second with water levels of 202 meters (663 feet).

Next to the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri, is the Gateway Geyser (1995) which reaches third place. With water reaching 192 meters (630 feet) in the air, this water fountain is the tallest in the United States.

The next on the list is Port Fountain located in Karachi, Pakistan which shoots water 190 meters (620 feet) into the heavens.

Number 4 is Water at Fountain Park (1970) situated in Fountain Hills, Arizona - it can attain up to 171 meters (561 feet) when all three pumps are working, even though it normally only reaches up to 91 meters (300 feet).

The Dubai Fountain which made its debut in 2009 is situated next to tallest building worldwide, the famous Burj Khalifa. Once every 1/2 hour, this fountain begins dancing to pre-recorded songs while shooting water 73 meters (240 feet) high. It also has extreme shooters, rarely used, which go as high as 150 meters (490 feet).

Making it in the top 8 is the Captain James Cook Memorial Jet in Canberra (1970) which measures 147 meters (482 feet).

And finally we have the Jet d'eau, in Geneva (1951) which measures 140 meters (460 feet) in height.

A Real Roman Masterpiece: The Santa Maria Water Fountain in Cosmedin

Both Christian and pagan relics have been found in by the load by archaeologists and restorers scouring the area of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. Located in the portico of the nearby basilica one can see the acclaimed marble sculpture known as the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth). The location of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin fountain (1719) was not in a well-known area and was, therefore, not frequently visited. Since the nearby area was depressing and mostly uninhabited, visitors were not particularly interested in visiting it. In order to modernize the square outside the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Pope Clement XI commissioned an Italian architect by the name of Carlo Bizzaccheri to design a water fountain for the area. August 11, 1717 saw the beginning of the task to lay down the foundation of the church. Medals bearing the images of the Blessed Virgin, for whom the church is named, and of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of water, were thrown in the foundation following the blessing of the first rock.


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